The yellow cab has long been associated with New York. Yet in 2023, New Yorkers and tourists alike are just as likely to hop into an Uber as they are to get a taxi. While it certainly is convenient to get a ride with a few taps on your phone, it can present certain dangers.
Ubers are driven by people using their own vehicles, without any special training or licensure. A person can become an Uber driver if they are at least 19 years old and they have a clean driving record. If you are involved in an Uber accident, it can be challenging to figure out how to get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we are fierce advocates for injury victims throughout Long Island. We have substantial experience handling rideshare accidents, helping our clients get the money that they deserve for their injuries. To learn more, reach out to our law offices to schedule a free initial consultation.
Can You Sue an Uber Driver for an Accident?
If you are hurt in a typical motor vehicle accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. To win the case, you will have to show that the other driver was somehow responsible for the crash, usually because they were negligent or careless in some way. In most cases, you will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Uber accidents are different, however. Although an Uber driver is using their personal vehicle to drive you places, they are working for the company. If they were an employee, then Uber could be held responsible under a theory of respondeat superior, where employers can be liable for the negligence of their employees in the performance of their job duties. But because Uber drivers are independent contractors, the same rules don’t apply.
Instead, who you can file a claim against will depend on what exactly the driver was doing at the time of the accident. Depending on the situation, you might file a claim against the Uber driver’s personal car insurance policy, Uber’s auto insurance policy, or Uber’s commercial general liability policy.
In essence, if the driver was not working when the accident happened, then you are limited to their personal insurance policy. Otherwise, you may be able to access one of Uber’s policies. Here is how it works:
- If the driver had the app off and was not working when the accident occurred, then you can file a claim against the driver’s personal policy. Unfortunately, they may have a relatively small insurance policy – as low as the New York minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 in property damage per accident. This may not be enough to
- If the driver had the app on and was waiting for a ride or otherwise available when the accident happened, then you can file a claim with Uber’s smaller auto insurance policy. This policy’s limits are $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
- If the driver was en route to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in the car at the time of the accident, then you can file a claim with Uber’s larger commercial policy, which has much higher limits of $1,000,000 for third-party liability.
As you can see, the question of which insurance policy applies is very important because it plays a huge role in whether or not you are fully compensated for your injuries. For example, if you suffered a spinal cord injury and had medical bills over $150,000, then your expenses may not be fully covered by the driver’s personal insurance policy or Uber’s auto insurance policy. However, Uber’s commercial liability insurance policy would likely cover your losses.
In other words, you can file a claim against an Uber driver and their insurance company for an auto accident – but it may not always be the best option. In most cases, going after Uber itself – and its much larger commercial policy – is the best way to get full compensation for your losses. An experienced Long Island Uber accident attorney can work with you to help you understand your rights and options when it comes to filing a claim.
Is Uber Liable for an Auto Accident?
As noted above, employers can often be held liable for the negligent actions of their employees, as long as it occurred in the course of their job duties. For example, if a bus driver was driving their standard route and struck a pedestrian, then the bus company (and/or the government agency) could be held legally responsible for the damages suffered by the accident victim.
Uber is able to dodge this type of vicarious liability, however, because their drivers are not employees – they are independent contractors. To date, New York accident victims have not been successful in holding Uber or other rideshare companies accountable under a theory of respondeat superior.
That being said, you can still file a claim with Uber’s insurance company under certain circumstances. Essentially, the Uber driver had to be engaged with the app in some way – whether waiting for a ride, going to pick up a passenger, or giving a passenger a ride – in order to be held responsible.
For Uber passengers involved in accidents, this means that you will always be able to access Uber’s larger commercial general liability policy after a crash. However, for everyone else – such as pedestrians and drivers and passengers in other vehicles – the situation is more complicated. An experienced Uber accident lawyer in Long Island can help you understand your rights and options for pursuing a legal claim against Uber and/or the rideshare driver.
Who Is at Fault for an Uber Accident?
It depends. Personal injury cases are usually based on a theory of negligence, or carelessness. If an Uber driver was negligent in some way – such as by texting while driving – then they may be liable for the crash. Other drivers or even a third party – like a government agency responsible for maintaining a road – could also be held responsible.
These cases are often complex, particularly given that Uber drivers are independent contractors. If you have been hurt in an Uber accident, call The Odierno Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with a Long Island Uber accident lawyer.
Can I Afford a Lawyer for My Uber Accident?
Personal injury cases are usually handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing up front, and only pay a fee if your attorney recovers money for you. The fee will be a percentage of your total recovery, whether through settlement or verdict at trial.
While you may not think that a lawyer is necessary, remember that Uber is a massive corporation with a giant insurance company representing its interests. To level the playing field – and to make sure that you get the money that you need to cover your medical bills and other losses – you will need a highly skilled Long Island personal injury attorney. Reach out to The Odierno Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.
The Insurance Adjuster Is Offering Me a Settlement for My Uber Accident. Should I Accept It?
No. No. No.
The insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. Their goal is to get you to accept the least amount of money possible in exchange for giving up your legal rights. You should never accept a settlement, sign any paperwork, or give a statement to the insurance company without first consulting with an attorney.
A lawyer is ethically bound to represent your best interests. Even if you don’t end up filing a lawsuit, it is always a good idea to schedule a free initial consultation with a Long Island Uber accident attorney. They will help you understand your rights and give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of a settlement. Call The Odierno Law Firm today to schedule an appointment with a member of our legal team.
What to Do After an Uber Car Accident
If you are involved in a crash involving an Uber, then there are certain steps that you can take in the immediate aftermath to protect yourself – and your right to compensation. The first thing that you should do is seek medical care. Getting medical attention is the best way to ensure that your injuries are treated appropriately. In addition, it will create a link between the accident and your injuries.
Next, you should call the police. Law enforcement will come to the accident scene and gather details, such as the position of vehicles, weather conditions, and the names of witnesses. They will also typically get statements from the Uber driver, any other drivers, and passengers.
If you are physically able and it is safe to do, then you can also gather evidence yourself. This can include the insurance and contact information for the Uber driver, plus the names and contact information of witnesses. You can also take photos and videos of the accident itself and any of your injuries.
The Uber driver should report the accident to the company. You can also do so yourself through the Uber website or the app (if you were a passenger in the Uber). You will need details about the accident itself in order to file a claim, such as whether the driver had a passenger at the time.
As soon as possible, you should consult with an attorney. They can help you understand your rights and options, and can assist with tasks like filing a report with Uber. They will also get to work right away to put together evidence and legal arguments to support your claim and help you get maximum compensation for your losses.
Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to money for your:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The best way to get the money that you deserve for your losses is by working with a highly skilled Long Island Uber accident lawyer. Your attorney will fight for your right to full compensation – and will work to hold Uber accountable for your injuries.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
If you have been hurt in an Uber accident as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you may be unsure of your rights. You may think that you are limited to filing a claim against the driver – but in many cases, you might be able to pursue a claim against Uber itself. We can help you determine the best course of action and how to get the money that you deserve for your injuries.
The Odierno Law Firm represents injury victims in Nassau and Suffolk counties. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Long Island Uber accident attorney, give us a call at 631-994-1802 or fill out our online contact form.